Wisconsin Republican Upsets Wausau Democrat Mayor in Biden Territory

A Republican city council member won an upset victory in the Democrat-controlled city of Wausau, Wisconsin, Tuesday, defeating the incumbent Democratic major in a close vote.

Alderperson Doug Diny defeated Mayor Katie Rosenberg by 424 votes, 5,222-to-4,798, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

WPR said Rosenberg had been expected to win and called Diny’s victory “an upset.”

A major issue in the election was what WPR called the “skyrocketing water bills” caused by the installation of new filtration systems after elevated levels of PFAS were detected in the city water supplies.

There are thousands of varieties of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances — commonly referred to as PFAS — which are manufactured chemicals that tend to take a long time to break down, and therefore can accumulate in the environment and in both people and animals.


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It’s not yet known what effect, if any, PFAS have on human health, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, “[c]urrent scientific research suggests that exposure to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health outcomes.”

Apparently, the “suggestion” that the chemicals “may lead” to health issues was enough for the Democratic mayor to spend enough on water filtration to cause her to lose her job.

Democrats worked hard to keep that from happening, apparently outspending Republicans significantly.

According to WisPolitics, the state Democratic Party poured nearly $200,000 into the local race, in addition to a $18,444 contribution from Wisconsin Conservation Voters.

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“Meanwhile, campaign finance reports show Diny received $21,800 from the Wausau County GOP during the pre-election period, while the state GOP gave him another $20,000,” the outlet reported. The Wisconsinites for Liberty Fund also supported Diny’s campaign with direct mailers.

Rosenberg had been considered something of a rising star in the Wisconsin Democratic Party, WPR described her as a “frequent host of Democratic politicians like Gov. Tony Evers and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin,” and even a contender for the 2022 lieutenant governor candidacy.

Diny was elected to the City Council in 2020. According to his campaign website, he is a “retired sales executive” as well as an Army veteran who lead a helicopter assault company.

The Republican victory is likely to encourage those hoping to see presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump defeat incumbent President Joe Biden in November.

Wisconsin is one of the most contested swing states in the country. Trump defeated former first lady Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a margin of fewer than 23,000 votes, or about 0.77 percent of the vote.


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Four years later, Biden beat Trump in Wisconsin by an even smaller margin of 20,682 votes, amounting to about 0.62 percent of the votes cast that year.

“I want to thank the voters of Wausau for electing me to be their next mayor and I want to thank Mayor Rosenberg for her years of service to the community,” Diny said in a statement following his win, according to WSAW. “Thank you also to my supporters and all of the grassroots volunteers who made this possible.

“I want every Wausonian to know that I will be a mayor for all. I am ready to get to work and help make Wausau an affordable place to live, start a business, and grow a family,” the mayor-elect added.

A Note from Our Deputy Managing Editor:


I heard a chilling comment the other day: “We don’t even know if an election will be held in 2024.” 


That wasn’t said by a conspiracy theorist or a doomsday prophet. No, former U.S. national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said that to the founder of The Western Journal, Floyd Brown.


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Josh Manning

Deputy Managing Editor

The Western Journal

George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of “WJ Live,” powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.

George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.


Foxborough, Massachusetts




Beta Gamma Sigma


B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG


North Carolina

Languages Spoken


Topics of Expertise

Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics

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